Kansas has been the longest state for us mileage wise, at least it seems that way. “Miles and miles of magnificent miles” of riding and driving through small towns, seemingly ghost towns, larger cities, and lots of cattle ranches and farmland.
The Flint Hills started our trip into Kansas, who knew Kansas had hills? They are really pretty; you can see for miles even among the hills. The cattle on the hills add to the scenic views.
We initially thought it would take an entire week to get through Kansas but Dan has gained a lot of strength and speed; add that to the flat stretches and he was flying.
Just about everyone in preparation for the trip questioned why we were going east to west compared to west to east which is the more common route due to winds. “Your going the wrong way” was pretty common. I would like to officially say that Dan had tailwinds for a good portion of Kansas; enough to make him travel much faster at 19 miles per hour over 80 miles. He had other stretches of tailwinds in Kansas but also experienced headwinds and crosswinds - the point is it is windy in Kansas! There are minimal trees much to my dismay and the temperatures started to rise as we entered Kansas.
We experienced our first of many 100 degree days but Dan did well in the heat. He left the campsite early to get a start on the day before the heat of the day and was usually finished before the 100 degree portion of the day but still rode in upper 80s or 90 degree temps. He enjoyed some ice cream along the way and cold gatorade or water at convenience stores.
Friends and Family
Our first stop in KS was Pittsburg. We were looking forward to Pittsburg because our friends were joining up with us for the day. We have been lucky to see so many family and friends along the way so far and look forward to more visits with friends and family. Aaron and Conor played with their friends and Aaron even got help riding a scooter thanks to Isaac. Vanessa brought a restock of books for us and gave us some of her pottery pieces to share with our cycling hosts. Unfortunately some of them broke in transit but I still have one that I can share. I have been writing thank you cards to most places as we really appreciate the support from these towns, churches, and people along the route.
The next stop was about 80 miles from Pittsburg and Dan’s parents were meeting us there to continue the trail with us. We were all very happy to meet up with them at the Crosswinds State Park campground. The boys were so excited to see Grandma and Grandpa. They have been a lot of help to us and the boys really love spending time to them.
Riding into Kansas there were dark clouds forming and lightning in the sky. The wind picked up and Dan experienced very windy conditions as he rode his bicycle. At one point he said it felt like the wind could push him over. Thankfully the storm passed through with only rain and wind.
Prior to our trip I discovered that Kansas towns will allow cyclists to stay in their city parks and use their community pools and showers/bathrooms at not cost. Thank you Kansas. Dan was free to swim at the pools and the rest of our group was typically a $1/pp which for a refreshing swim and use of showers and bathrooms it was worth it. We all definitely appreciated the pools and showers; with 100+ degree days, we looked forward to the next town and their pool.
I initially had the thought that I would take the boys on side trips throughout each state to various places such as National Parks (which has happened) and even places like the largest ball of twine or largest rocking chair. Quirky but when else are you going to be close to the largest ball of twine? It wasn't the largest ball of twine but it was the Geographic Center of the US near Lebanon Kansas. It was a two hour side trip but after Dan was finished with riding for the day we packed up and drove north.
After “miles and miles of magnificent miles” and being at the center of it all we entered colorful Colorado with smiles and happy dances. Our travels continue through the Rocky Mountains and some of our favorite places in the U.S.
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